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First Night

Ring in the New Year In Downtown Pittsburgh

December 25, 2010
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Tri-state area residents can make a quick jaunt to downtown Pittsburgh for First Night Pittsburgh 2011, featuring more than 100 events in the heart of the city's Cultural District. The New Year's Eve festivities take place from 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, Dec. 31.

The family-friendly community event is presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, with support from lead sponsor Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. With a weekend of entertainment, the city will offer a joyous celebration of the arts: dance, music, theater, comedy, magic, visual art and film, plus hands-on activities for children and adults.

"During this exciting weekend for Pittsburgh, First Night will serve as a gateway of fun and entertainment offering an incredibly diverse selection of programming on New Year's Eve," said David O'Brien, executive vice president of government services and external affairs for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. "First Night presents a creative, affordable and healthy New Year's Eve celebration that makes the most of our city's wealth of artistic talent. Highmark is proud to mark its fifth year as the lead sponsor of First Night."

Article Photos

Dan Kamin

Kathryn Heidemann, director of First Night Pittsburgh, said, "We're thrilled to welcome tens of thousands of First Night visitors, including the many Winter Classic patrons, to the heart of the Cultural District. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is proud to host this community event and to introduce Pittsburgh to premiere artists such as the Neo-Futurists, a Chicago-based theater company, and acclaimed saxophonist Tia Fuller, among many others."

First Night Pittsburgh begins at 6 p.m. with the Dollar Bank children's fireworks display and performances by One World Tribe on the Dollar Bank Stage, followed by the First Niagara First Night Parade at 8 p.m. This year's parade will have a "Winter Wonderland" theme with penguin puppets and Iceburgh as a programming thread to the Winter Classic.

The evening concludes with a performance by Tower of Power and the First Night tradition, the Countdown to Midnight and Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale atop Penn Avenue Place. The Highmark Stage, where all the First Night revelry concludes, is located on Penn Avenue next to Fifth Avenue Place.

Fact Box

Friday, Dec. 31

  • Dollar Bank Children's Fireworks Show, Dollar Bank Stage, 6 p.m.
  • First Niagara First Night Parade, Penn Avenue, 8 p.m.
  • Tower of Power, Highmark Stage, 10:45 p.m.
  • The Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale, Highmark Stage, 11:45 p.m.
  • Mark Weakland, First National Bank Family Tent, 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Jason Hudy and Amber Lee's Premier Magic Productions, Fifth Avenue Place, 6:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
  • Matthew Korbanic, Courtyard by Marriott, 6:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Vonzell Solomon and Mark Ballas from Burn the Floor, Dollar Bank Stage, 6:15 p.m.
  • 88mph! Steel Town Fire Goes Back In Time, Ninth and Penn parking lot, 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Billy the Kid and The Regulators, CAPA School, 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
  • Cello Fury, Fifth Avenue Place, 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Colonizing the Cosmos, 121 Seventh Ave., 6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.
  • Dan Kamin's Cheap Evening of Expensive Theatre, August Wilson Center, 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Dwayne Dolphin, Trust Arts Education Center, 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Equitable Gas sing-off winners, Byham Theater and Fulton Mini, 6:30 p.m.
  • Music Together family sing-along, Trust Arts Education Center, 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • One World Tribe, Dollar Bank Stage, 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Organization of Chinese Americans Youth Ensemble, August Wilson Center, 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
  • Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre & School, CAPA School, 6:30 p.m.
  • Pittsburgh Musical Theater: Xtreme Teen Broadway Celebrate the Season, Benedum Center, 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Squonk Opera: New Year's Mayhem, Byham Theater and Fulton Mini, 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Zafira Bellydance Show, 119 Sixth Ave., 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Tadashi Kato, August Wilson Center, 6:45 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
  • America's Latin Orchestra, 911 Penn, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9:15 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.
  • Joe Wos: Once Upon A Toon, 943 Liberty Ave., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • kNOTdance: One Hot Night!, Verve Wellness, 142 Sixth Ave., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Morgan Erina, Trust Arts Education Center, 7 p.m.
  • Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, 542 Penn Ave., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Ruby Jain, August Wilson Center, 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.
  • Gab Bonesso Comedy Show, 937 Liberty Ave., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • The Neo-Futurists, O'Reilly Theater, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Neon Swing X-perience, CAPA School, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Theatre Sans Serif, Trust Arts Education Center, 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.
  • UMOJA African Arts Company, August Wilson Center, 7 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
  • We're Holden Puppets show, 119 Sixth Ave., 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.
  • Tim Ruff, Trust Arts Education Center, 7:15 p.m.
  • Leroy K. Wofford, CAPA School, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Attack Theatre Game Show, CAPA School, 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Meeting of Important People, 121 Seventh Ave., 7:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.
  • Maddie Georgi, Trust Arts Education Center, 8 p.m.
  • Pittsburgh Gospel: ROOTS, 937 Liberty Ave., 8 p.m.
  • Dream Job, Trust Arts Education Center, 8:30 p.m.
  • Tia Fuller, Trust Arts Education Center, 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
  • Brett Williams, SPACE, 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • In Acchord, Benedum Center, 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Peter Bush & the Hoi Polloi, Trust Arts Education Center, 9 p.m.
  • AppalAsia, August Wilson Center, 9:30 p.m.
  • Caribbean Vibes, August Wilson Center, 9:30 p.m.
  • Jimbo and the Soupbones, Trust Arts Education Center, 9:30 p.m.
  • Russo, Erinia, Ruff & Zoob, Trust Arts Education Center, 9:30 p.m.
  • Joy Ike, Trust Arts Education Center, 10 p.m.
  • Pittsburgh Gospel All City Choir, August Wilson Center, 10:15 p.m.
  • Bear Cub, Trust Arts Education Center, 10:30 p.m.

The newest venue is the former Bally's Building, which will have half a dozen workshops and activities.

Among the 125 events and activities held in 50 venues throughout the Cultural District, other special First Night Pittsburgh attractions include the First National Bank Family Tent; Equitable Gas marquee performances featuring Squonk Opera at the Byham Theater and the Neo-Futurists at the O'Reilly Theater; Tia Fuller (who has performed with Beyonce) at the Trust Arts Education Center; First Night Around the World international performances at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture and other venues.

First Night Buttons

To join the celebration, visitors must purchase an all-access First Night Pittsburgh 2011 Button. First Night buttons are available at participating Giant Eagle stores, at The Box Office at Theater Square, online at, and by calling 412-456-6666.

Because of overwhelming popularity and limited seating in Cultural District theaters, a free general admission seating voucher is necessary to see the performances of Squonk Opera, the Neo-Futurists, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Attack Theatre, Dan Kamin, Pittsburgh Gospel All City Choir and Jason Hudy's Magic Show. Vouchers are available at The Box Office at Theater Square. Guests can show a First Night button to obtain one seating voucher per production. The Box Office at Theater Square is located at 655 Penn Ave. between the O'Reilly Theater and Katz Plaza.

There will be general admission waiting lines for performances at all "vouchered" venues. Patrons will be seated on a space-available and first-come, first-served basis once voucher holders have been accommodated.

The box office is open from noon to 6 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.


First Night needs volunteers for numerous jobs, from button checkers to activity helpers to parade assistants. Families, co-workers, school groups and individuals of all ages are needed to help ring in 2011 in a fun, alcohol-free, family-friendly way. To volunteer with First Night, sign up at

History of First Night

First Night is the largest one-day outreach event of tThe Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has led the way for the creation and ongoing development of Pittsburgh's award-winning Cultural District.

Utilizing the arts as a means for transforming a formerly blighted downtown, the Cultural Trust today welcomes more than a million visitors annually to thousands of performances, gallery exhibitions and community events, officials said.

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